Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he was “very surprised” at Florida’s pandemic response and planned to raise issue with it to the Trump White House.
The Washington Post and BuzzFeed published thousands of pages of emails to and from Fauci on Tuesday, revealing a trove of information on Fauci and his thoughts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In one email exchange on page 2,013 of BuzzFeed’s dump, Fauci voiced disapproval for how Florida Governor Ron DeSantis handled the pandemic early on.
On March 17, DeSantis issued an order shutting down bars and cutting restaurants to half capacity to limit the spread of the coronavirus. He also limited gatherings to no more than 10 people. Fauci received an email from a Florida doctor complaining about DeSantis’ response on March 18 as other states were preparing and enacting heavy-handed lockdowns because of COVID-19.
“I know you’re ridiculously busy so please do not be upset with me, but I am frustrated and yes angry,” the man, identified as Doug Brust, wrote to Fauci. Brust continued:
Today at the RW clinic I dealt with at least 12 URl’s with fever.
We cannot test.
We have no PPE in clinic.
We have a case that tested positive for influenza then SARS-CoV-2–this scared me the most given I’m trying to r/o COVID-19 by doing PCR for other respiratory viruses.
On the drive home just now, the gyms, bar-grilles and restaurants still packed. Yes, bars are closed in Florida–but if they serve food (which they all do) ……. they’re open. Ans, so much for the 50% capacity “suggestion”.
The beaches still full for Spring Break. Look at the pies of St Pete.
“I’ve written to our DOH and Governor Desantis [sic] three times (including speaking with his staff) asking to close restaurants (aside from take -out), gyms, beaches etc. They are ‘monitoring.’” Brust said. “I’m the HIV doc here. I’m it. You know how seriously I take caring for my patients. I have [redacted] I am putting my life on the line so folks can go pump iron, drink beer, have a burger and get a tan.”
Fauci sympathized with Brust in a response sent the next day. Fauci said he was “screaming on TV 2 to 5 times per night” at young people and expressed surprise that DeSantis continued to allow them to flock to bars and restaurants.
“Thanks for the note. I have pushed hard on PPEs and as you may know, the POTUS has involved the Department of Defense to provide 5 million N-95 respirators. Hopefully that will alleviate at least a portion of the PPE shortage,” Fauci wrote back. “Regarding the bars and beaches, I have been screaming on TV 2 to 5 times per night to tell the younger generation to start taking this seriously. I am very surprised that Gov. DeSantis has not completely closed the bars, even if they serve food. Take out only. I will bring this up at the Task Force meeting tomorrow. Please take care of yourself. You are an indispensable front line warrior.”
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